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NTU scales up with hybrid cloud

Zafirah Salim | Oct. 27, 2014
A hybrid cloud environment will give institutions the flexibility to scale up storage during peak periods and launch new apps quickly, while maintaining performance and with even greater cost savings.

With an aim to provide high-end compute intensive IT resources for academic research, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) housed its own high performance computing centre (HPCC) within its Singapore campus. However, even with 472 servers and 5,040 processors, the HPCC reached its limit a couple of years ago and was forced to rethink and revamp its architecture.

As such, the local university opted to build a hybrid cloud infrastructure. To ensure that computing resources can be scaled out during resource-heavy spikes and meet unanticipated needs, NTU subscribed to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to cope with unexpected demands. Data was kept secure through an AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) that allowed virtual machines to remain isolated from other AWS users.

The university also built a private cloud infrastructure with virtualisation and platform management using Red Hat OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure, allowing NTU to scale-up using its existing hardware and facilities and by building vCPU, vRAM and VMs.

The HPCC team also looked towards building a 'full hybrid cloud strategy' that allowed them to balance their public and private cloud environments. NTU has chosen NetApp's Private Storage which combines the HPCC, the NTU private cloud and Amazon Web Services' public cloud into a unified user interface. NTU's HPCC team has gained multiple benefits with its new hybrid infrastructure including fulfilling its regulatory need to have an affordable secondary site for disaster recovery.

With the new design, the HPCC team has saved cost without having to procure new hardware or add members to the team to manage spikes in performance demand. Moreover, the cloud model is one that can be replicated in other sites with similar HPCC demands.

This project by NTU's HPCC team also won the Red Hat Innovation Awards in The Emerging Technologies Category in 2014, which also marks the first time a Singapore-based entity has won an award from Red Hat.


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